Everyone has their own go-to comfort food, and mine is pasta. It probably dates back to when I was a vegetarian. I wasn't an adventurous eater, so my old standby was a bowl of spaghetti with marinara. Now that I eat meat and have a bit more of an adventurous palate, I'll try new foods, but pasta is still what makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.
By definition, bolognese is a sauce that is simmered for hours and hours, building flavor. However, sometimes the craving for pasta with meat sauce doesn't hit until 5 pm. And then what's a girl to do? Turn to Ina, of course. Her weeknight version of bolognese contains the basics: beef, tomatoes, and cream. But she throws in some extras to boost the flavor: oregano, red pepper flakes, basil, red wine, and nutmeg. Her additions give the sauce an intense flavor, and what's more is that it's achieved in under an hour. Which is key for this busy mom.
adapted from Ina Garten, How Easy is That?
- 1 lb lean ground sirloin
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1/2 Tbs dried oregano
- 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 1/4 cups dry red wine, divided
- 1 (28-oz) can crushed tomatoes, preferably San Marzano
- 2 Tbs tomato paste
- kosher salt and ground black pepper
- 3/4 lb dried pasta, such as shells or oricchiette
- 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil leaves, lightly packed
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, plus more for serving
Pour 1 cup of the wine into the skillet and stir to scrape up any browned bits. Add the tomatos 2 teaspoons of salt, and 1 teaspoon of pepper, stirring until combined. Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Drain and pour into a large serving bowl.
As the pasta cooks, finish the sauce. Add the nutmeg, basil, cream, and remaining 1/4 cup wine. Simmer for 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until thickened. Add the sauce to the pasta, along with the Parmesan cheese, and toss well. Serve hot and pass additional Parmesan at the table.